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    Augusta, ME 04330

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    Your Work Exclusion Applies to Damage to Tradesman's Property, Not Damage to Other Property

    Zinc in London Climbs for Second Day Before U.S. Housing Data

    Just Because You Record a Mechanic’s Lien Doesn’t Mean You Get Notice of Foreclosure

    Noteworthy Construction Defect Cases for 1st Qtr 2014

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    University of Tennessee’s New Humanities Building Construction Set to Begin

    Harmon Tower Demolition on Hold Due to Insurer

    Business Risk Exclusions Bar Coverage for Construction Defect Claims

    Texas Supreme Court Defines ‘Plaintiff’ in 3rd-Party Claims Against Design Professionals

    Coverage Denied for Insured's Defective Product

    Triple Points to the English Court of Appeal for Clarifying the Law on LDs

    California Senator Proposes Bill to Require Contractors to Report Construction Defect Cases

    Builder Exposes 7 Myths regarding Millennials and Housing

    Florida County Suspends Impact Fees to Spur Development

    California Governor Signs SB 496 Amending California’s Anti-Indemnity Statute

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    Travelers’ 3rd Circ. Win Curbs Insurers’ Asbestos Exposure

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    Damages or Injury “Likely to Occur” or “Imminent” May No Longer Trigger Insurance Coverage

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    New Jersey Construction Company Owner and Employees Arrested for Fraud

    December 04, 2013 —
    Frank Chimento, Jr., the owner of Chimento Construction of Parsippany, New Jersey, and three of his employees, Joseph Carsillo, Frank Chimento III, and Carl J. Corso, were arrested by federal agents. The elder Chimento is accused of falsifying his own income taxes, as well as failing to collect and turn over federal and state payroll taxes. He is additionally charged with falsifying union benefit fund contributions. The three employees are also accused of filing false income tax statements and also of attempting to defraud the state of New Jersey of unemployment compensation benefits. An additional unnamed conspirator made transactions at multiple financial institutions in order to pay employees directly in cash. One of the three employees, Mr. Carsillo, worked for the company and received cash payments while maintaining to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development that he was unemployed. Mr. Carsillo was receiving $526 per week from the NJDOL-WD in unemployment benefits, starting in 2009. From 2009 through 2011, Mr. Carsillo received $19,988 in unemployment benefits and an additional $351,788 in wages from Chimento. Read the court decision
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    Federal Court Denies Summary Judgment in Leaky Condo Conversion

    August 04, 2011 —

    In the US District Court for Illinois, Judge William Hibber has rejected the request for summary judgment sought by the developers of a condominium building in the case of Nautilus Ins. Co. v. 1735 W. Diversey, LLC (the insureds). The insureds renovated a building at 1735 W. Diversey, Chicago, converting it into condominiums. After the project was completed and all units sold, and a condominium association form, one of the owners found that unit suffered leaks during rainstorms. The condo board hired a firm, CRI, to investigate the cause of the leakage. CRI found “water infiltration through the exterior brick masonry walls, build-up of efflorescence on the interior surfaces of the masonry, and periodic spalling of portions of the brick masonry.”

    The redevelopment firm had purchased coverage from Nautilus. “Shortly after the Board filed its first complaint, the Insureds tendered the mater to Nautilus and requested that it indemnify and defend them from the Board's underlying claims. Nautilus, however, rejected the Insureds’ tender and denied coverage under both insurance policies.” Nautilus stated that the water leakage did not constitute an occurrence under the policies. The court cited these policies in which an occurrence is defined as “an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions.” The Illinois courts have determined that construction defects are not accidents.

    The court concluded that the insured did not bring forth claims within the coverage of the policies and denied the motion for summary judgment.

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    Michigan Supreme Court Concludes No Statute of Repose on Breach of Contract

    July 19, 2011 —

    Judge Marilyn Kelly of the Michigan Supreme Court has remanded the case of Miller-Davis Co. v. Ahrens Constr. Inc. (Mich., 2011) to the Court of Appeals, after determining that the court had improperly applied the statute of repose. She reversed their judgment, pending a new trial.

    Ahrens Construction was a subcontractor, hired by Miller-Davis to build and install a natatorium room at a YMCA camp in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After its installation, the YMCA discovered a severe condensation problem, causing moisture to “rain” from the roof. The architect, testifying for Miller-Davis, alleged that the problems were due to improper installation by Ahrens. Ahrens claimed that the condensation problem was due to a design error.

    When the roof was removed and reconstructed, the moisture problem ended. Ahrens argued that the alleged defects were caused by the removal. Further, in trial Ahrens raised the issue of the statute of repose. The court found in favor of Miller-Davis and did not address the statute of repose.

    The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, determining that the statute of repose had barred the suit. This rendered the other issues moot.

    The Michigan Supreme concluded that the issue at hand was “a suit for breach of contract,” and that the Michigan statute of repose is limited to tort actions. They remanded the case to the Court of Appeals to address the issues that had been mooted by the application of the statute of repose.

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    CDJ’s #5 Topic of the Year: Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, et al.

    December 31, 2014 —
    Steven M. Cvitanovic and Whitney L. Stefko of Haight Brown & Bonesteel analyzed the Beacon decision, and discussed how it affects developers and general contractors: “On July 3, 2014, the California Supreme Court (the “Court”) came out with its decision in Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, et al. The Beacon decision settled a long-standing dispute in California about whether design professionals such as architects and engineers owe a duty to non-client third parties. In finding that the plaintiffs in Beacon could state a claim against the architects of the Beacon project, the Court also sowed the seeds of change in the way contracts are structured between developers, architects, engineers, and even general contractors.” Read the court decision
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    Contractors: Revisit your Force Majeure Provisions to Account for Hurricanes

    September 20, 2017 —
    We now know and can appreciate the threat of hurricanes. Not that we did not appreciate the reality of hurricanes–of course we did–but Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma created the type of actual devastation we fear because they hit close to home. The fear came to life, creating panic, anxiety, and uncertainty. It is hard to plan for a force majeure event such as a hurricane because of the capriciousness of Mother Nature. But, we need to do so from this point forward. No exception! And, I mean no exception!! A force majeure event is an uncontrollable event that cannot be anticipated with any degree of definitiveness. The force majeure event will excusably delay or hinder performance obligations under a contract. One type of force majeure event is a hurricane—an uncontrollable and unforeseen act of Mother Nature. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Florida Construction Legal Updates
    Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dadelstein@gmail.com

    Massachusetts Court Holds Statute of Repose Bars Certain Asbestos-Related Construction Claims

    April 17, 2019 —
    In Stearns v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) addressed whether the six-year statute of repose for improvements to real property applies to long-tail tort claims, such as those caused by exposure to asbestos. Reasoning that the language of § 2B is clear, unambiguous and unequivocal, the SJC held that Mass. Gen. Laws. c. 260 § 2B does in fact bar all tort claims arising out of a deficiency or neglect in the design, planning, construction or general administration of an improvement to real property filed after the expiration of the six-year repose period. Additionally, the court affirmed that the time limitations imposed by the statute of repose may not be tolled for any reason six years after either the opening of the improvement for use or the owner taking possession of the improvement for occupation upon substantial completion, whichever may occur first. Reprinted courtesy of Timothy J. Keough, White and Williams LLP and Rochelle Gumapac, White and Williams LLP Mr. Keough may be contacted at keought@whiteandwilliams.com Ms. Gumapac may be contacted at gumapacr@whiteandwilliams.com Read the court decision
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    Hamptons Home Up for Foreclosure That May Set Record

    May 13, 2014 —
    A home in New York’s Hamptons on Further Lane, where comedian Jerry Seinfeld and hedge-fund manager Steven A. Cohen own estates, is up for auction in what will be one of the area’s biggest foreclosure sales. More than $10.5 million is owed on the 1.8-acre (0.7-hectare) property at 80 Further Lane in East Hampton, according to Daniel Murphy, the Riverhead, New York-based attorney who is scheduled to conduct the sale on June 10. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg
    Mr. Gopal may be contacted at pgopal2@bloomberg.net

    Risk Management and Contracting after Hurricane Irma: Suggestions to Avoid a Second Disaster

    September 14, 2017 —
    Peckar & Abramson attorneys have assisted contractors in the immediate aftermath of several Hurricanes, including Andrew in 1992, Wilma in 2005, Ike in 2008, and Sandy in 2012. Based on this experience, we offer some post-storm strategies for contracting and risk management in three situations:
    1. Ongoing projects in the area directly impacted by the storm;
    2. Projects remote from the storm-impacted areas, but which may be affected by material or labor shortages; and
    3. Requests for assistance in recovery/clean-up/rebuild eff orts, which would be new projects.
    Projects Directly Impacted By Hurricane Irma: 1. Immediately review each Owner contract to determine what notices are required for delays and/or extra costs arising from the storm. Contract notice requirements and time limits vary, whether for force majeure or other similar time and compensation rights. There is no effective one-size-fits-all solution. While the initial notice letters will likely look very similar, you should make sure that each is sent as required by the contract. Check each contract’s requirements for particulars regarding content, the form of delivery, and parties and individuals designated to receive the letters as well as carbon copy recipients like the architect. Follow-up notices and time periods differ from contract to contract and should be tracked so that if, for example, a follow-up notice is required in a week per the contract terms, it is tracked to ensure compliance. Reprinted courtesy of Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP attorneys Stephen H. Reisman, Gary M. Stein and Adam P. Handfinger Mr. Reisman may be contacted at sreisman@pecklaw.com Mr. Stein may be contacted at gstein@pecklaw.com Mr. Handfinger may be contacted at ahandfinger@pecklaw.com Read the court decision
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